Archive for February, 2013

17 and counting

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

John and I celebrated 17 years of marriage today! And what a great 17 years it has been! We’ve gone from Little Rock to Costa Rica to Mexico to Tel Aviv to Pakistan together (accompanied by cats Louise, Noodle and Flavia), with no regrets left behind. We are so happy to have the friends and family who have supported us along the way! Everyone always talks about how hard marriage is – I’m happy to say it’s been pretty darn easy!

The other highlight of our week was John’s success at our National Day party. Typically, embassies around the world throw a big party for the 4th of July. Here in Islamabad, they changed it to be on President’s Day this year, due to the unbearable July heat. John was in charge of the event, which was a huge responsibility – and, it went off “flawlessly,” as the Ambassador put it. He really did a great job – and it’s no small feat, given the 500+ guests in attendance. He was exhausted by the time it was over – the adrenaline was really running! He took Friday off as a day to recuperate.

The beginning of the week was a run-up to the big event, so we had dinner a few nights at the Club as John worked on last minute details. Friday, our usual gang went to the French Club for lunch.

Last Sunday was very relaxing. We watched a couple of movies, including “Lincoln,” which was wonderful.

This weekend was nice. Saturday, I worked for a while in the morning to get a visa out so a local staff person could go to the U.S. for training, then we went out to dinner at Polo Lounge with Rick, Howie and Petit, which was really enjoyable. I also had a nice relaxing manicure-pedicure in the afternoon.

Today I had a wonderful Thai massage – it felt so great – lots of stretching. Afterward I went to the Embassy to check out the truck art sale and competition, then Laura and Scott came over to play Settlers of Catan, a fun board game. We had an excellent day to celebrate our 17 years together!



Not much new here – you?

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

At Lita's last Friday with smoke from the firepit

This photo was taken at Frank and Lita’s last Friday night when we went over for a party. We were all sitting in the front yard around the fire pit. Those are generators in the background – we have one or two, as well, but luckily ours is out of sight behind the garage. Anyway, it was a nice night, especially sitting around the fire.

Last Sunday was very pleasant. Rick came over for breakfast and to watch John roast coffee. Afterward, John and I went to sit on Kellee and Jim’s rooftop – it was a gorgeous day. We drank wine and Jim grilled – it was just a nice time.

Michael and I have been on our own this week since Scott’s been on R&R – and even Michael left me Thursday to go to Karachi. I’ve missed my regular lunch buddies!

During the week, we interviewed for a local staff position, so that was kind of fun. I think we found a good candidate. Friday, NIV went out to lunch at the Serena as a farewell to Brandon. We’ll sure miss him in the section.

I went to the gym four of the five workdays. I’ve been trying to increase my distance to 5k. I can’t jog the whole way, but I alternate jogging and walking. I’ve also been trying to get up early to do a short yoga practice – it’s helping me feel a bit more limber and not so stiff. It’s a struggle, though!

John worked a bit late on Friday night, then Rick came over later for dinner and a visit.

Saturday I worked for a while and hit the gym, then went for a great massage and manicure. Later in the day, John and I watched “J. Edgar,” about J. Edgar Hoover, which we really liked. That night we met Kellee, Carla and Mike at the Marriott for sushi – I’ve never been a big sushi fan, but all of a sudden it’s all I want to eat. The rest of the folks got a huge sashimi boat – it was really served in a boat – we wanted a photo but no one had a camera. Guess we’ll have to go back!

I don’t think I mentioned that Flavie made her first trip to the vet last Saturday, and she went back yesterday. Last Saturday was for her regular rabies and other vaccines; yesterday she went for some sort of a fungus vaccine – I’m not sure what it is, but Dr. Rana says that spores are everywhere here in Pakistan – he made it sound so creepy that we relented and took her back! I don’t want any fungus spores on her! Next Saturday she has to go back for preventative worm treatment. I hate having to take her so much, but he doesn’t want to do everything at once. It’s so affordable here, it’s really amazing. $35 for her rabies and distemper vaccines, which would have been over $100 at home. And Dr. Rana is nice – he kissed her on the top of the head before he put her back in her carrier!


Rain, rain go away

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Two of our pretty local staff with Paco's "The Party"

Wow – we had three straight days of rain  here starting last Sunday, complete with thunder and lightening – I heard we got 8″! It was pretty amazing. Then, on Wednesday, it was an absolutely gorgeous day like nothing had happened!

Last Sunday we went to a going-away party for one of the NIV officers in my section. Afterward we went to a small dinner party hosted by our friends Edward and Catherine. They cooked a delicious duck.

Monday night Rick came over and we ordered in pizza – pepperoni, although it’s beef, not pork, of course!

Thursday night we watched a real tear-jerker movie, “Quill, the Life of a Guide Dog.” It was such a sweet movie and John and I both just cried and cried!

Friday afternoon, we had our NIV staff meeting at the American Club –  a nice way to end the week. From there I went to Carla’s office, then we all headed over to Frank and Lita’s to sit outside and enjoy a fire and unwind. Relaxing.

Saturday I went in to print some visas so folks could make flights this weekend, and then went to for a mani-pedi and massage – so nice. Rick came over later and we went to eat sushi – we had a really enjoyable evening.

Below are two photos that were taken at our house a couple of weeks ago when we hosted a farewell party for one of the local staff – we love the fire pit!



Playing chicken

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Man with chicken, Said Pur Village

Last Sunday I went to lunch and shopping with Kellee and Carla. We had a nice lunch at Polo Lounge in Said Pur Village, then ventured out into unknown territory in town to find a marble place. They make lovely marble tables with inlaid designs – after a few missed turns, we found it. It was so strange because there were lots of men out and about on the street, but absolutely no women. That’s the case usually, but I guess it seemed more so because we were in an unfamiliar part of town.

At any rate, we found the factory. It’s a small place, and OSHA would have a fit if they walked in. No protective gear for eyes, ears or hands, and they are cutting marble with huge saws.


Marble factory










I was fascinated with the owner’s chickens and pigeons. He had a pigeon coop on the roof, and he competes in competition with them. The pigeon who flies the longest wins – he said he had won a competition because his pigeon stayed up for 13 hours.

Rooftop pigeon coop










Then he had this beautiful rooster and hen – I’ve never seen such a feathery chicken. The rooster was big, and the hen had so many feathers, it looked like she was trying to cover herself a la a Middle Eastern woman – so cute!

Marble factory chickens














Inquisitive rooster













From there we went by the leather store to pick up Carla’s red leather jacket she’d had made, then we went to a couple of art/framing stores. It was a fun day.

The week was pretty exhausting at work. We had a person out sick, so I helped on the interview line some. We had to stay late Wednesday night for a training class with Washington, so it was almost 9PM before I got home.

We finished the week on a good note, though –  we went to the French Club for lunch, which is always nice for a change. At the end of the day, we had a private happy hour in Carla’s office, then stopped by the Club’s happy hour on the way out. The people here really make this a fun place to be.

Today we went tried a different spa for massages and a mani-pedi for me. It was much nicer that the other place we’ve been going – it was really nice and relaxing. We came home and watched “Zero Dark Thirty,” which was interesting. It was shot in India, not Pakistan, and parts were supposed to be in the Embassy here, so it made it even more interesting. After that, we watched a documentary called “Helvetica,” about the popular Helvetica font – John just read a book about fonts. It reminded me of my friend Mike – I think he’d enjoy it.

The weather here has been so nice this week. Still chilly in the morning, but pleasant and sunny at lunch for the most part. We’re enjoying it while we can, before the triple digit summer hits again.

Here’s a parting shot of a typcial scene in traffic – a whole family on a motorcycle. Mom sits side-saddle, and she is often holding a baby in her arms. I don’t know how they do it! Click for more photos from Sunday’s outing.

Four on a motorbike, and Mom's riding side-saddle